Keep rescue helicopter where it is
Kicking the helicopter and other rescue services out of Mechanics Bay is utterly disgraceful and a travesty that should not be allowed to happen. Once again the port company board are thumbing their noses at the people of Auckland and the port’s 100 per cent owners, the Auckland Council. The rescue and other facilities are ideally located with close proximity to the hospital, the gulf and other services. Ports [of Auckland] was given the centre’s land even though it was never needed for port operations. The answer is blindingly simple. The council should immediately strip the land holdings out of the company and lease them back to it at market rate minus the rescue centre area. Then the right thing would happen. Doug Armstrong, Glendowie.
Whitianga worse off
Front-line emergency services in Auckland are “heartbroken” because their rescue helicopter base is to be shifted to a new location, this apparently involving an extra 20-minute flight time from some parts of the city to the hospital. How about the residents of the Coromandel Peninsula who will completely lose their helicopter based in Whitianga, and which will involve an extra 40-minute flight time to hospital. This makes a joke of the “golden hour” of critical care. It’s the same story for Taupo, Te Anau and Rotorua. They’ll be losing their choppers too.
Our base in Whitianga is totally funded by residents at no cost to the taxpayer. The lack of an adequate and timely rescue service will have a huge economic impact on investment, tourism and business in the Coromandel, not to mention the extra fatalities that will result from the long delays to reach critical care. John Henson; Whitianga
Signs not liked
Recent storm damage has meant some fine old trees have had to be removed from Cornwall Park. This is always a shame but it does mean room is made for regeneration. However, I see hideous large signboards have proliferated, with Facebook-type messaging saying, “People who like this (tree, stone wall, and so on) will also like . . .”. Now, I encourage the trust board to put out pamphlets with this type of messaging. People in a beautiful natural environment do not need to be confronted with big, ugly signs telling them what to look at. Gavin Kay, Remuera.
Your correspondent Sue Whale could easily have caught a train from Newmarket to Papatoetoe (22 minutes) and then the 380 Airport Bus (20 minutes) to the airport, 42 minutes total. The bus stop is right next to the train station and there’s a ramp so you can wheel your bag.
I can’t understand why no one is suggesting adding a short length of heavy rail track to link Papatoetoe train station to the airport. This would allow passengers to get to the airport directly from Britomart and it could also be used by freight trains to transport goods. Passengers from West Auckland can change to the Southern Line at Newmarket. Why put trams along congested Dominion Rd? It’s crazy. Jacqui Ross, Massey.
The ambassador and head of the European Union delegation needs to show leadership by directly settling the $20,000 Wellington rental arrears dispute. The conduct and suitability of the senior employee in question should be dealt with as a separate matter. Page 1 of any diplomacy manual will refer to the exemplary high standards of professional conduct expected from employees within the diplomatic service. To hide behind the draconian concept of diplomatic immunity unfairly brings the entire diplomatic service into disrepute. Bruce Eliott, St Heliers.
In addressing the ongoing clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, some have written of “Israel’s right to defend its borders”. Just as there were no borders when whites and blacks clashed in Apartheid South Africa, there are no borders between Palestinians and Jews in Israel. If there were they would denote the very thing Israel’s PM has declared will never happen — a two-state solution.
These incidents are along the fenced and patrolled buffer zones that define the enclaves into which the Palestinians have been pushed, a situation which has no more striking parallel than that of the cruel oppression of the Jews themselves throughout history. And now Israel, as a manifestation of the Jewish triumph over those long centuries of persecution, has itself become, as Nietzsche warned, the monster it would defeat. M. Evans, Tamaki.
New Zealand says it supports a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestinian region but its deeds show otherwise. Since Palestine declared statehood back in 1988, most of the world’s countries (136 out of 194) recognise that state. However, New Zealand is one of the minority that does not, while at the same time recognising Israel. If New Zealand is to be a true supporter of a two-state solution, it should get in line with most of the world, and recognise both countries’ existence. Jeremy Hall, Hauraki.
I wish to express my concern at the unbalanced reporting of Gaza/Israel border clashes and the US embassy move to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is Israel’s historic capital. It is perfectly reasonable they wish this to be a consular centre. Hamas and the PLO bitterly oppose this as their claim is not only Jerusalem for themselves, but indeed the whole land of Israel for themselves as openly declared, most explicitly on Arab language broadcasts.
Jacinda Ardern has expressed concern at the disproportionate deaths and injuries in this latest clash and called for a return to pre-1967 borders, implementing a two-state solution. Does she imply that a greater death and injury count on the Israeli side would be less unacceptable. Who’s side sought to storm the border and make incursion intent on violence. The Israeli’s gave due warning such a move would be resisted. Peter Matthews, Brookby.
Why night sky is dark
In response to Rod Matthews, for the night sky to be completely illuminated, Stephen Hawking explained, it would require the universe to be infinite and static. Newton’s laws showed a static universe is not possible, but it was not known until 1929 that the universe is actually expanding. All galaxies are speeding away from one another at an accelerating rate, as found by Edwin Hubble on discovering the “red shift” of light from the galaxies.
Heinrich Olbert argued in 1823 against the concept of an infinite static universe brightly lighting our night sky by pointing out that light from distant stars would be dimmed by intervening matter. We know this to be true. Also, the galaxies beyond our own Milky Way are so distant that their light is only a tiny fraction of all light reaching Earth. As for the starlight which does reach us, most of it is from the billions of stars in the Milky Way. However, as we see the galaxy “edge-on”, it follows that many of its stars must block light from other stars in the galaxy, preventing it from reaching us directly. John Hampson, Papatoetoe.
Blues need Aucklanders
Gregor Paul’s article on Carlos Spencer going to the Hurricanes hit the nail on the head. Canterbury and the Crusaders play it right with their rugby culture. Auckland should be the greatest provincial team in the world. Instead it is a dysfunctional laughing stock. It had an ex-mayor of Hamilton as its CEO and a private equity investor who has the most power in the franchise, and it is going to hell in a handcart. The three unions or NZ Rugby should buy out the investor, put an Auckland rugby person such as David Kirk in as CEO, appoint an Auckland rugby great like Buck [Shelford] or Zinzan [Brooke] as the coach and watch out. The Blues and Auckland would be back. Frank Edwards, Russell.
I have just returned from Bhutan, a beautiful country, with a focus on lowimpact high-value tourism. Backpackers are not allowed, tourists have to be accompanied by a guide, and there is also a US$65 ($93) per day tourist levy, which goes to improve health, education and roading. I did not hear a single complaint about paying this levy. Tourists are able to appreciate the country, without being crushed by hoards of people. In New Zealand we are told tourist numbers are set to rise to more than 4 million by 2025.
Our beautiful scenery and attractions are already overloaded. The resulting damage to the environment cannot continue without a price to pay. Paul Chafer, Takapuna.